WARRINGTON’s Own Buses says it is still operating ’99 per cent’ of its services after reports that many scheduled journeys are being cancelled at short notice.

Evening buses are amongst those believed to have been most adversely affected due to a shortage of drivers.

But the operator says that most of its timetabled buses are still running as normal.

Managing director Ben Wakerley said: “Driver shortages are continuing in the UK, and so we are unable to operate the level of service that we would like to at the moment.

“Despite these difficulties, we are still operating approximately 99 per cent of the timetable.

“Provisional licences for new recruits are taking much longer to be returned from the DVLA than usual and driver testing is also less available than pre-Covid.

“We hope that these issues, which are outside our control, will improve shortly so that the regular timetable can be reinstated.”

One customer told the Warrington Guardian: “I was waiting for the last bus home when I was informed about five minutes beforehand that it would not be running.

“I had paid for a return ticket so was not best pleased, and had to fork out for a taxi to avoid being stranded.

“It’s fair to say I won’t be making that mistake again.”

Several timetabled services were previously cut at the beginning of September due to the driver shortage.

Warrington Own’s Buses withdrew a number of peak time 62 and 62a services between Warrington Bus Interchange and Runcorn, with a scaled down Saturday service now provided by a private operator.

Other changes included the Cheshire Cat 6 and number 17 having new timetables, with altered timings on buses one, two and four.

A DVLA spokesman said: "We are prioritising HGV and PCV provisional licence applications, which are being issued in around two weeks.

"More complex transactions, for example if medical investigations are needed as part of a driving licence application, may face longer delays.

"There are delays in processing paper applications due to recent industrial action and social distancing requirements, which means that we have fewer staff than usual on site."